Email discussion groups provide a private electronic meeting space for like-minded people. By sending and receiving emails, they can participate in open-ended conversations at their convenience.
But why email and not something like Facebook groups, web forums, or other platforms?
Only people who regularly use Facebook will use groups, but email is nearly universal. Practically everybody has an email address, including some pets!
Here are 8 reasons why email discussion groups are still the best option for many communities:
Other platforms require a learning curve. That may seem easy to the leaders of a group but may be beyond the grasp of the regular members.
And digitally-savvy people forget how intimidating it can be to make that first post to a new group. According to BJ Fogg, it’s better to make things simple instead of trying to motivate people. One of the benefits of email discussion groups is that, since almost everyone uses email, they’re more likely to already know HOW to use it.
While nothing in the digital world can truly be private, email feels more private than web forums or Facebook groups. And privacy is important because any question posted is a public statement of ignorance.
Unlike Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo Groups, or LinkedIn, email is decentralized and nobody has the right to censor your messages. These private companies can block your messages, kick you off, and change the rules any time they want. Their goal is to make money by selling your data, and sometimes that’s in conflict with your goal of hosting a valuable online community. But an email discussion group community isn’t beholden to any large company with its own agenda.
Facebook group posts are only on Facebook. Emails come into your Inbox, where you can archive them for posterity and have your own local searchable library. Plus, all of your messages sent to the group are automatically retained in your own Sent box.
If someone’s not in your Facebook group, forwarding something to them takes extra steps. But emails are easy to forward to friends and colleagues. You can pass on useful knowledge to people who are not regular members of your community.
5. Easy to Read on a Smartphone
Unlike web forums, reading emails on a smartphone is easy and common. So if your community is an email discussion group, it can benefit from people participating with their small chunks of downtime.
With other communities, you have to remember to visit and log in.
A new, unread email is the trigger to read and possibly reply to messages from the group.
7. Already a Habit
Finally, a successful online community becomes a habit for its members, but not everyone has the habit of using every social media. Email, however, is already a habit for most people. Typically, it’s the first thing people read in the morning and the last thing they check at night. All day long they are in their Inbox. This gives them plenty of opportunities to develop the habit of reading and participating in their online community.
Other, newer community platforms may seem alluring, but good old-fashioned email hasn’t died and it’s a solid foundation for a solid community. Consider switching your community to an email discussion group!
Oh wait…..we promised 8 reasons why email discussion groups are the best!!
8. PUSH instead of PULL social media
Not sure what that is?
Find out all about PUSH social media and why it’s a great choice!